Examining gender differences in received, provided, and invisible social control: an application of the dual-effects model

Janina Lüscher, Sibylle Ochsner, Nina Knoll, Gertraud Stadler, Rainer Hornung, Urte Scholz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


The dual-effects model of social control not only assumes that social control leads to better health practices but also arouses psychological distress. However, findings are inconsistent. The present study advances the current literature by examining social control from a dyadic perspective in the context of smoking. In addition, the study examines whether control, continuous smoking abstinence, and affect are differentially related for men and women. Before and three weeks after a self-set quit attempt, we examined 106 smokers (77 men, mean age: 40.67, average number of cigarettes smoked per day: 16.59 [SD=8.52, range=1-40] at baseline and 5.27 [SD=6.97, range=0-40] at follow-up) and their nonsmoking heterosexual partners, assessing received and provided control, continuous abstinence, and affect. With regard to smoker's affective reactions, partner's provided control was related to an increase in positive and to a decrease in negative affect, but only for female smokers. Moreover, the greater the discrepancy between smoker received and partner's provided control was the more positive affect increased and the more negative affect decreased, but again only for female smokers. These findings demonstrate that female smokers' well-being was raised over time if they were not aware of the control attempts of their nonsmoking partners, indicating positive effects of invisible social control. This study's results emphasize the importance of applying a dyadic perspective and taking gender differences in the dual-effects model of social control into account.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)678-694
Number of pages17
JournalAnxiety, Stress and Coping
Issue number6
Early online date19 Mar 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • provided social control
  • received social control
  • invisible social control
  • smoking
  • gender
  • dual-effects model of social control


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